Defence Ferns lose to France by single point in women's final

By Kelvin McDonald
Credit / NZDF Sport

The Defence Ferns narrowly lost to France 8-9 in the final of the first women's International Defence Rugby Championship in Tāmaki Makaurau this week.

New Zealand led 8-6 at halftime but moments before fulltime gave away a penalty in front of their posts which France converted for a one-point, gold medal, victory.

The Defence Ferns scored the only five-pointer of the game, a first-half try to Hayley McKay after she steered a maul over the try line for the touch down.

France was awarded the match-winning penalty with two minutes left in the game after a French player slipped into Clementine Varea's tackle resulting in a yellow card for the Defence Ferns player.

Credit / NZDF Sport

Sgt. Bridget Lake was announced as the tournament MVP for the Defence Ferns.

Fiji beat Australia 36-28 for third place and the United Kingdom defeated Tonga 44-11 in the plate final.

Dr Farah Palmer and Sir Wayne (Buck) Shelford presented the teams with their medals and trophies after their games, alongside Dame Julie Christie, Chair of Rugby World Cup-NZ and Claire Beard, Head of NZ Women’s Rugby.

Minister of Defence, Peeni Henare, presented the IDRC Champion trophy to the French team at the closing ceremony.

The finals were played at College Rifles Rugby Club on Tuesday.